Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM
Saturday's Picks from Belmont, Keeneland
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge races are in the books, but today’s $200,000 Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland drew a solid field of fillies and could produce a starter or two for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
The Richard Baltas trained Venetian Harbor is the 7-5 morning-line favorite. The filly has run second in each of her last three starts, the runner up in the Test (G1) last out at Saratoga behind Gamine, who ran off the screen in a seven-length win. Her connections have said the Breeders’ Cup is in play with a strong performance this afternoon.
The same goes for the Ian Wilkes trained Four Graces. The filly is the 5-2 second choice and had a three-race winning streak snapped last out when running second in the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs in her previous outing.
I need a little more value, and as you can see below, I landed on Secret Keeper, who is shipping in from Southern California for the Clifford Sise barn. She ran a good second in the Torrey Pines (G3), going a mile in her last start.
The feature today at Belmont Park is the $80,000 Floral Park, a six-furlong sprint on turf that drew a field of 11 along with a pair of main track only entrants.
We got a lot of rain in New York yesterday, and the races were wiped off the turf. Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies, but there should still be plenty of give to the ground today.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Keeneland.
You can catch the action from Belmont Park today from 12:00 to 3:30 ET on FS1 and 3:30 to 5:30 ET on FS2. Also, you can stream the action on YouTube or by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. offers a risk-free bet up to $300 for new players.
To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Saturday, click here.
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Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BELMONT PARK RACE 1 ANALYSIS (12:20 P.M. ET)
BEL Race 1 Clm $32,000
- #5 Mission Wrapitup 8-1
- #1 Rejected Again 2-1
- #4 Leaveuwithasmile 4-1
- #2 Ryan's Cat 9-2
Analysis: Mission Wrapitup stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish last out against $50,000 non-winners of three. He made his first start off the claim by the Kantarmaci barn that took him for $32,000 two back out of a third at this level. He is back in with straight three-year-olds and will be sitting in a good spot behind what should be a sharp early pace. It is tough to move them up off Brown, but this barn is underrated, and we should catch a fair price.
Rejected Again took the field gate to wire to beat $35,000 non-winners of three in the slop going seven furlongs in a race taken off the turf. He beat $16,000 non-winners of two for Gullo and was claimed out of that race by Rice, who does good work with recent claims. The colt earned the top last out speed fig and owns solid early- and mid-pace numbers. He looks primed for another good effort here in his third start off the bench.
BELMONT PARK RACE 9 ANALYSIS (4:47 P.M. ET)
BEL Race 9 The Floral Park
- #9 Rose Flower 6-1
- #8 Lead Guitar 7-2
- #6 Mitchell Road 3-1
- #5 Xanthique 5-1
Analysis: Rose Flower returns off a four-month break here for the Clement barn after fading to finish a well-beaten sixth in the intercontinental (G3) last out over yielding ground at seven furlongs. She rolled over Alw-2 foes here three back on good ground and was a decent third in the Autumn Days on yielding ground at the Big A. The barn is 15% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. This is an easier spot after running into Newspaperofrecord last out in graded stakes company.
Lead Guitar took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2 optional claimers last out here at six furlongs. Her first start after landing back with the Weaver barn has been sending out live runners at the meet, and several have run huge. She beat state-bred Alw-2 foes in a game effort. She comes in her very sharp and has run well over the ground with some give to it. She was beaten just a head at Keeneland over good ground last fall.
KEENELAND RACE 9 ANALYSIS (5:30 P.M. ET)
KEE Race 9 The Raven Run G2
- #6 Reagan's Edge 8-1
- #5 Venetian Harbor 7-5
- #10 Secret Keeper 12-1
- #2 Four Graces 5-2
Analysis: Reagan’s Edge prompted the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish last out in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, going six furlongs. She ran into a sharp filly in Frank’s Rockette, who came back to win the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) in her next outing on Oct. 3 at Belmont Park. Our top pick made her stakes debut two back in the Victory Ride (G3), where Frank’s Rockette beat her by just a head. She owns a solid pace profile throughout in a race with plenty of early zip signed up. The DeVaux trainee appears to have the right running style and looks like the extra ground here will suit her.
Venetian Harbor ran into Gamine last out, who rolled to a seven-length win in the Test (G1), taking the field gate to wire and taking advantage of a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The Baltas trainee was 6 ½ lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She was cutting back from a couple of runners up finishes going 1 1/16 miles in the Ashland (G1) two back at Keeneland and the Fantasy (G3) three back at Oaklawn Park (behind Swiss Skydiver). She has earned solid numbers over his last six outings that include a win in the Las Virgines (G2) at a mile and her maiden win, which came at 6 ½ furlongs. The trainer is using this race as a possible prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in three weeks.
Secret Keeper is cutting back from a runner-up finish in the Torrey Pines (G3) at Del Mar, going a two-turn mile in her stakes debut. She dueled for the early led and battled on gamely in the stretch to come up 1 ¼ lengths short. The winner Harvest Moon came back to win the Zenyatta (G2) in her next start at Santa Anita on Sept. 27. She looks as if she has as much upside as any in this field and is quick enough to handle the cutbacks to seven furlongs.
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
- R1: #5 Mission Wrapitup 8-1
- R3: #4 Forever Mo 15-1
- R4: #5 Eighty Seven North 12-1
- R5: #4 Coltandississippi 8-1
- R6: #12 Greatheart 8-1
- R7: #8 Shinjuku 15-1
- R7: #12 Fast Gordon 8-1
- R8: #5 Beach Access 10-1
Good luck today!